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Applied Measurements has announced that it has seen a rise in demand for its standard and custom-designed bolt-on load cells for wind-turbine load testing.

According to the company, with even larger 7.5MW and 10MW output wind turbines now under development, developers and manufacturers of next-generation turbines need to test new turbine blade designs and prototype platforms.

This includes measuring and monitoring the loads on the platform and individual turbine blades.

To carry out these tests, small-scale wind-turbine models are normally constructed.

Applied Measurements’ Boss series of bolt-on strain sensors is designed to be attached directly to steel structures, including wind turbines, and is capable of detecting tensile, compressive and bending stresses.

These forces can then be converted to a useable electrical signal, either using instrumentation provided by the company or by the customer’s own systems.

Peter Lewis, managing director at Applied Measurements, said: ’We’ve designed a number of load cells recently for wind energy applications.

’As well as load cells that measure vertical and horizontal forces on the turbine platform, we recently supplied a customer with a six-axis measurement system for monitoring the loads on the turbine blades.

’The system was fairly simple and comprised of our very robust, bolt-on load cells, which were positioned in the head of the wind turbine.

’Blocks were welded onto the head of the turbine, which the load cells were then attached to.

’The load cells monitor the stresses on the root of each turbine blade,’ he added.

Utilising the latest strain-gauge technology, each Boss strain sensor is manufactured from specifically selected high-grade alloy steel, with thermal coefficients of expansion matched to the structural steel of the wind-turbine platform or blade.

Each unit is temperature cycled to ensure that the effects of temperature fluctuations are minimised.

To ensure complete protection from harsh environments, including high winds, rain and stormy weather, each sensor is fully encapsulated (potted) with a high-strength waterproof compound and sealed to IP65.

Lewis said: ’To install the sensors to a wind turbine, each unit is supplied with a template to which the two mounting blocks are attached using high tensile cap head bolts.

’The mounting blocks are welded into position using the template, which is then removed and the bolt-on sensor attached in its place.

’The solution is simple but robust and the sensors are guaranteed for three years,’ he added.

According to Lewis, in another wind-turbine testing application, four of the company’s load cells were positioned underneath each corner of a rectangular-shaped wind-turbine platform.

Each load cell measures the vertical and horizontal forces on the structure, including the reaction and thrust forces present.

These forces are constantly trying to tip over the structure while in operation; testing the loads at the prototype phase is, therefore, critical.

As well as load cells for this project, Applied Measurements also supplied supporting instrumentation in the form of eight amplifiers.

Each load cell was set up to measure two axes on each corner of the platform.

The load cells were custom designed and protected from the elements.

Lewis claims that, as well as wind-turbine applications, the Boss series is also used in a variety of different weighing applications, including hoppers, silos, storage vessels, bins, tanks and overload protection systems on cranes, winches, lifts and presses.

Applied Measurements

Applied Measurements offers a comprehensive range of loadcells, force sensors, weighing systems, pressure sensors, torque transducers, LVDTs and displacement transducers along with associated instrumentation.

Applied Measurements offers a comprehensive range of loadcells, force sensors, weighing systems, pressure sensors, torque transducers, LVDTs and displacement transducers along with associated instrumentation.

UKAS-traceable calibration can also be offered on all of our sensors and systems. We specialise in the manufacture of non-standard products and if one of our standard sensors is not exactly right for your application then we can design and build a customised product, tailored precisely to fit your requirements.

All products that we supply are backed up by our extensive in-house expertise and our standard three-year warranty.

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